When I retired from full-time paid work a few years ago, as well as writing, I took up the cello as an adult beginner and now play regularly in an ‘oldies’ orchestra and a local amateur quartet, though we don’t look quite as ugly as the pottery quartet pictured. Music making and pottery have things in common with writing, in that you are going to make mistakes, have another try, practise and keep on trying to improve. The difference with music is you are usually playing the notes someone else has written and there is generally a ‘right’ way to do it. Hand-built pots, however, are by definition unique, like this little group. So writers aim to develop their own style and hope there are readers out there who will enjoy it, or be moved by it, or laugh…and keep coming back for more. On the other hand is there a risk that we become formulaic and cease to surprise either ourselves or the reader? Does that matter? Listening to a favourite piece of music is like wearing a comfortable old pair of slippers or enjoying the predictability of known authors. That certainly applies when I re-read old favourites. Wishing you a creative and fulfilling 2016.